Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Another year older and wiser too...

Happy Birthday Rob!

22 years ago an incredible young man was born.
I held him in my arms and he opened his eyes
and looked around taking it all in.
" huh.. so this is it..."

Robbie has always had his own unique sense of style.
He manages to make us laugh.

He works hard at his talents
And is not afraid to take risks.
He's had his share of afflictions

But is headed in the right direction.

It is a privilege to know him.
Happy Birthday Robbie.
I love you!

Monday, September 28, 2009

What? My Birthday?

Dear Family,

This has been a really good week! Thank you for all of your prayers and letters!

This week we had our district conference (which is a stake conference for a district :) and President and Sister Myrrha were here to speak. The gaúchos here are a lazy people that find excuses for everything. When it's cold they don't leave the house, when it's rainy they don't leave the house, when it's sunny and warm they also have an excuse not to leave the house.
Our branch is also lacking a lot of excitement. At the district conference there were 128 people! Less than the normal attendance of Salgado Filho! Three branches make up the district here! It was raining and the attendance was really pathetic. But we did our part! We brought 6 people to church.Sani, Jaqueline and Gianine, Terezinha and two references! It was really good to see these people at church.

President and Sister Myrrha really teach with authority. You can really feel the spirit in their words and examples. They also had the opportunity to pass through our house, what a blessing(not)! We knew that they were coming into town and really cleaned up the house. She was passing through the house and didn't see hardly anything wrong.

UNTIL, she found a closet that hasn't been cleaned since the first missionaries arrived in the house! It was like one of those cartoons then they open the door and everything goes crashing down.

She had us take everything out and luckily I had allergy problems and could leave the mess. But, making a long story short the house is really a mess!

That was quite an experience.

We also did our first English class and there were 30 people there! I thought it was a good turn out. We will start to have a class on Wednesday for new comers and there is a college student that will put up a poster and announce the advanced class on Saturday! It should be a lot of people that show up. So pray for me and if you have any good ideas, I'm all ears! We've got a bunch of Ensigns and we will also use movies and music in English and just focus on pronunciation and practice speaking... Let me know what you think...

Tomorrow we have Zone Conference and a van will pick us up at 5 o' clock in the morning! Wish us luck.

Thanks for all of your birthday wishes! I think I won't be getting the packages any time soon because it looks like the mail in Porto Alegre and São Paulo is on strike!

Love you guys, Have a great week!

Elder Z

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

Tighten it up or let it go?

I was talking to a friend the other day and was able to identify a period of about 5 months in my life where I was organized and felt on top of things.

It was in 1987; from the time we moved into our West Jordan house until Robbie was born. I had a cleaning schedule that I stuck to like glue. Aaron and Amy were small and would "help" me each morning. I had beautiful plants that we would water and trim on a regular basis. I had a meal schedule that I used to create my weekly grocery list and it seems that I rarely had food that was wasted. We went for walks and planted flowers. We played on the swings...

I find myself often trying to recreate those 5 months. I have only two children home now who are older and more self sufficient... it seems like it should be a no brainer yet I struggle.

I put together a cleaning schedule for myself. Determined to get my laundry going early this morning I came down with my sheets and full hamper to find a full washing machine and this note:
Hmmmm this would put me behind schedule... but complain about a 17 year old doing his own laundry... I think not. (Well, mostly doing his own laundry).

Just when I feel like I've got a good routine down things change:
-Running with Jenn when she has to miss x-country because of piano lessons = skipping aerobics and reshuffling the morning.
-Eating dinners later in the evening so family members can take advantage of the last few weeks of warm evening light.
-Running around trying to get all the stuff put together so we can rent the house we just bought in St. George.
-Contemplating the changes Marks' new calling at the MTC (branch presidency) will mean for our family (I am not officially called but it is requested that I attend with him as often as possible (Sundays, Tuesday evenings and possibly Thursday evenings) hoping all the time that I can still serve with the Young Women Sunday and Wednesdays...

Honestly I wouldn't change any of these things.
I feel so blessed by all of them.
I just seem to always have a nagging feeling that there is a host of things I'm letting slide that I shouldn't... and then there's always trying to figure out what's for dinner...

Some how I thought it would be easier when my children got older, or when I finished school, or ... well, I don't know what. When will I have time to write... or read books for pleasure... I keep feeling that if I just got better organized I could make time for these things. Maybe things will settle down in a few weeks.

But then again... maybe not.

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

1000 Islands

They say that "No man is an island"...
But apparently some men own islands.
(What looks like the "shore" in the back is really another island.)

They say a man's home is his castle...

...and apparently some take that quite literally.

What does it mean when a man's home is a castle on an island?

I haven't the foggiest, but as Mark and I were leaving Kingston, Ontario (10 days or so ago) we took some time to enjoy an hour long cruise on the St. Lawrence River exploring the 1000 island area.
It's right where Lake Ontario and the St. Lawrence River come together.
I was awed by all the islands.
There are actually 1003 (or something like that).
They were basically bedrock sticking up out of the water in all shapes and sizes
And I mean ALL shapes and sizes.

To qualify as an official island they have to have one tree.
(Once again behind the little island is another bigger island)
These are some of the smaller islands
(with larger islands behind them)
Some islands were hard to distinguish from the shore because they were so big.
Some houses were built on the shore while others were on top of their boat houses.
Mark and I picked out the perfect island. It was a medium sized island with quite a few houses - at least that we could see.

The houses were not right on top of each other and the middle of the island was large and thick with trees. It looked like a fun place to explore and mountain bike. Lots of fun places for tree houses and such. We imagined how much fun it would be to have a house on the island for us and one for each of our kids. Of course we would need to install ziplines so that we could just let our kids know we were needing some snuggles and they could zip the grandkids on over.

Of course our reality is that this will always remain just a dream.
But in reality I already live the dream.

This man is no island.
And my home with him is my castle.
I remain in awe of him and all that he does.
He is my dream come true!

Island or no island.

Monday, September 21, 2009


Dear Family,

Thank you for all of your prayers, emails, love and concern. This week we started the Friday night, movie night. It went alright, a lot of people didn't go but the few that went had a good time. But, I'm very excited for this week.

This morning we went to the radio and had 7 minutes to talk about the activities that we will start this week. We met a member that was inactive that is coming back to church that used to be the Branch President here. He has a program on the radio and is getting us into all of the radios here in Santiago to talk about our activities.

In the past, when he was the Branch President there were more than 100 people that showed up for the English classes and many of them turned into referrals for the missionaries! We are going to do it again but this time we're going to invite everyone to the other activities at the church too. Here in Santiago they don't have a Movie Theater, so we are going to set up the projector and bring the theater to Santiago.

We are really trying to give some structure to this branch get these people going not just for when we are transferred but as long as they can apply these things. One of the things that is really lacking here in the mission is auto-sufficiency. The productivity and excitement of the area depends a ton on the missionaries. It makes it really hard to baptize when you know that your converts won't stay strong in the church.

But, also we should have a lot of success taking people to church this week because we will have our district conference. There is a new chapel here in Santiago but the chapel that we go to is an old one. We have made invitations and will put them on all the houses that we pass by to go to our district conference.

Well, we have a few investigators that are progressing. First of all there is the family of Sani, Jaqueline, Gianine and Marcos. We taught them about the Plan of Salvation and at the end the father, Sani prayed. He recognized in his pray that they aren't married and that the need to get married and that if everything goes well that they would like to be a part of the church. This week they have also told us that they will go to church this Saturday! Pray for them!

Also there is Kátia. She is married to a less-active member named Alexandre and is reading the Book of Mormon. She will be baptized for sure but it looks like her husband isn't worthy right now to baptize her and they always go out to visit there relatives on the weekend and haven't been to church since I have been here. They are also just marking visits with us once a week. Pray for them!

Then there is Mauro. He is also married to a less-active member; named Camila. He has been taught everything and had his baptismal date marked but then they got in a fight and it fell through. We started teaching him from the beginning and says that he wants to be baptized but doesn't remember about Christ's Church(If it exists, and why are there so many churches?). If everything goes well he will be baptized shortly. Pray for him!

For now, these are the people that are showing potential, please pray for them!

Love you all! Thanks for all you do for me!

Elder Zimbelman

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

Work and Play

Dear Family,

Thank you so much for your letters of encouragement, love concern and everything that you have all done for me! We are getting to work here in Santiago but the work is rough and a lot of times me and my companion feel very frustrated.

We have decided that we will need to work a lot with the members to remember them of there testimonies and then we will see a lot of progress with new investigators, referrals and the difference that needs to happen here.

I gave a talk this Sunday about becoming a people of Zion; being pure of heart. I talked about fervent prayer and studying the scriptures with vigor. I sure feel like there is a lot of hope and potential here but the members sure need to wake up.
So we're going to wake them up with all they can handle! I have noticed that the great difference between Salgado Filho and Santiago is that the members are all involved in the work and don't have a lot of time to go a astray. The members here are really needing something to do with their time. So we've planned activities through the week; Wednesday we will have a conversation night with English students that already have a bit of knowledge about English and are needing practice, Friday night we will have a movie night with films that have something to do with the church, Saturday the young men and young women will start doing super Saturdays and maybe even on Sundays we will have devotionals...
What do you think?

The members are really going to need some help and I would really appreciate it if you would all pray for them, and us! This week there were three more people at church, so we ended up with 37 and this week we had an investigator at church named Antonio. He is married to a recent convert named Janice that was baptized a few weeks ago. We are also teaching a family that once again needs to get married but look like they have real intent to know the truth. There names are; Suny, Jaqueline, Gianine and Marcos. Suny recently lost his father and is really suffering. Pray for them!

Once again I want to thank you all for your letters, they really calmed my heart and help me have more hope!

I sure love you guys! Can't wait to hear from you next week!

Love, Elder Z

Monday, September 7, 2009

A Week in Santiago

Dear Family,

Wow, this week has really been crazy! I arrived in Santiago on Wednesday at about 4 o' clock with my companion Elder Oliveira. I'm his second companion and the oldest in the mission in my district!

My district has three companionships; ours and the other two are fairly new missionaries that are training! President told me that it's time for Santiago to explode and wants me to make it happen. He says that he is confident in me and that Santiago has a lot of potential to have a lot of success.

This week I am a little worried because it looks like President put me in the Branch that is needing the most help! Yesterday there were 35 people at church! We marked with 10 members to pass by our investigators houses and walk with them to church. Not any of them went to church!

Santiago is a lot different than Salgado filho! I'm not really sure where to start but, President just told me to preach the gospel! Great counsel, isn't it? We are really going to need your prayers here!

Elder Oliveira is a really good missionary. He has been a member for 4 years but has done a 3 year mission preparation course and knows the doctrine pretty well for a greeny ;) Also I would appreciate your prayers on his behalf because some times he gets depressed and stops talking to me.

This transfer should be good, we are starting from a level so low that it should be good to see all the progress we will have! We also already have a few people that we will baptize in these next weeks; Cátia, Brenda and Neusa, pray for them!

Sorry, I'm out of time.

Love, Elder Zimbelman

Tuesday, September 1, 2009

God Knows our Hearts

Dear Family,

This week has been a great week!

Throughout my mission I have learned many things that will be with me for eternity. Knowledge and experiences that could not be replaced in any other place.

This transfer has passed by very quickly and soon I will be in a strange place learning a whole new type of work! I have been called to serve in a city called Santiago. It's a city close by that is not very big and in my district there will only be 6 missionaries!

It looks like it will be very similar to Santo Ângelo; the area is pretty big and they have just completed rebuilding the chapel! Elder Bruno, my LZ right now that lives in our house here in Salgado Filho already served there and says that it is an awesome place that has a lot of potential to grow! I will do my best to help the branch there turn into a ward and fill the new chapel.

At the same moment that I am very excited, I am also going to miss Salgado Filho a lot! There are a lot of recent converts here that have really been growing and progressing that I really hope stay strong!

This week we had Salete's marriage and Baptism! It was really special! She has been going to church ever since I have been here and was just needing to get married. Elder Monteiro and I did just about all of the paper work for her and she was really happy! She will be a very strong member of the ward here!

Raissa is also doing very well. Here family is taking the church a lot more seriously. They were to all of the meetings at church yesterday and didn't wait for the bus to pass but, walked all the way with three young girls! They are really showing there faith and progressing. I won't be here to see their marriage and baptism but I am sure that shortly it will happen!

We have also been working with a man that will be a great leader in the church. He is about forty-five years old and has some serious problems but the first steps he has already taken and really wants to change! All of the things he has passed I wouldn't feel comfortable telling you but I know that God has a time and purpose with everything that he does. The first time that we taught him he was in his parents house and showed interest in the message but we went back and they didn't accept us. It has been about three months and we were teaching a totally different family and he was at the house, drinking. We taught the restoration and we didn't even pay very much attention to him. But, when we were leaving he told us that he wanted us to pass by his house.

After that it's all history, he has gone to church two times, knows that what we have taught is true, he is reading the Book of Mormon and is really preparing for his baptism, the last time we taught him he asked us how to pay his tithing! His neighbor was joking and said that maybe I could come back and baptize him(Santiago is pretty close by here). I would really like to be here! He is very intelligent and he will certainly be a conversion that will bring many other people to the church! Pray for him!

Well, I am very excited to go to Santiago and start my work there but please remember me in your prayers! Thanks for all of your prayers!

Elder Rob
Cristiano and Family

P.S. Alessandro blesses the sacrament now! Cristiano is our ward mission leader! Tiago is his counselor! Almost all of our converts here are really strong in the ward! Thanks for your prayers!
Milton and Maristel
A cake for Elder Rob

I turned this twice but for some reason it won't stay!